Licking behavior in cats has several possible reasons. Although grooming is one reason, there are other reasons that are more serious.
Overall health is a concern when a cat licks surfaces excessively. A diet low in protein can cause cats to salivate more and lick surfaces to satisfy their need to groom. Weight loss can also contribute to increased licking.
Psychological issues can cause excessive licking as well. If a cat has been treated badly by anyone it knows, it may start to salivate and lick surfaces as a form of retaliation.
An anxiety disorder called feline interoceptive dysfunction syndrome (FIDS) can also cause excessive licking. This is when the cat has trouble recognizing its own body sensations and reacts with compulsive behavior like licking.
This article will go into more detail about the different reasons your cat might be licking walls and give you tips on how to address it.
Sometimes, cats will groom themselves or other cats to seek attention. If your cat is licking the walls, they may want you to pay attention to them.
They may want attention in general, or they may want you to follow them as they walk around the house. If they are trying to mark their territory, they are also seeking attention.
This behavior can be normal for young kittens who are still learning about socialization. They learn how to interact with other cats and people through touch, which can include licking.
However, if this behavior persists into adulthood, it may be a sign of something else. It could be a form of anxiety or frustration due to a lack of adequate attention.
If your cat is constantly licking the walls and is not spayed or neutered, this behavior could also be due to sex hormones. Getting your cat checked out by a veterinarian can help determine the cause.
They like the taste
A weird reason cats lick walls is because they like the taste. It’s not a specific taste, but rather the texture of dry wall.
Dry wall is composed of several things, including sand and glue. Sand has a slightly salty taste, so maybe your kitty is licking the wall because of that?
We already mentioned that they may do this to mark their territory, but if they are licking the wall without any protest, then maybe it’s just something they like.
However, if your cat is constantly seeking out new spots to lick, then there might be a problem. It could be a sign of anxiety or frustration and needs to be addressed by a vet.
If it is just a casual behavior, then there is nothing to worry about! You might just need to buy some pet-proof paint so you do not have to replace the walls every few weeks.
A dirty wall
If your cat is walking across the walls or licking the wall, there may be a physical reason.
Cats have a special sensor on their tongues called the filiform papillae. It helps them detect texture on surfaces, like walls!
If your cat is walking across the wall or licking the wall, there may be a physical reason. Maybe he or she is trying to find something on the wall, like prey. Or maybe they just like the texture of the wall!
Some cats also display this behavior when they want to mark their territory. Since walls are generally considered neutral territory, your kitty may be trying to warn off other cats by walking across the walls and leaving their scent.
If this behavior occurs after your cat has been fighting with another pet, it could be due to frustration.
They’re marking their territory
Although this may seem like a silly reason for cats to lick walls, it’s a very real one. Cats are notorious for marking their territory.
Whether it’s your kitchen floor, the carpet, or the wall, if your cat has an urge to mark, they’ll find a surface.
In fact, research has found that male cats spray walls more often than female cats and most often in winter — probably because there are fewer opportunities to mark elsewhere at that time.
So if your kitty is spending a lot of time on the wall and seems intent on licking it, they may just be marking their territory. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution: give them their own territory.
They have a skin problem
If your cat is licking walls excessively, there could be a reason other than boredom.
Some cats may lick surfaces due to an allergic reaction. This is known as dermatitis, and can be caused by food allergies, stress, and exposure to chemicals or toxins.
If your cat has recently switched foods or has been exposed to new environmental factors such as flea treatments or changes in litter boxes, this could trigger a dermatitis.
Since the symptoms include excessive licking, redness, and possibly flaking of the skin, a visit to the vet is in order to determine the cause.
Your vet may do some tests including taking a sample of skin to examine it under a microscope. They will then discuss treatment options with you based on the diagnosis.
They’re hot and the wall is cool
This is a pretty common reason that cats lick walls. Usually, it’s because walls are cool and they’re trying to get themselves warm.
Sometimes, cats will begin licking the wall before they lie down to sleep. This is likely because they’re trying to get warmed up before snoozing. When you crawl into a cold car, you usually start rubbing your hands together before grabbing the steering wheel, right?
Since cats have fur, they may also just like the texture of the wall. Some even enjoy rolling around on smooth floors or walls, so it could be a fun activity for them.
Of course, if your cat is licking the wall and is not sleeping in the same room as the wall, then there might be a problem. It could be a sign of anxiety or depression, which both require veterinary care.
Your cat loves you!
Cats love to groom. They love to groom themselves, so it makes sense that they would enjoy grooming you or your pet dog.
When your cat licks you, it feels good. This is why cats do it so often. They like the sensation of your skin and hair being pulled into their tongue and rubbed around their mouth.
In addition, cats have a specialized taste receptor called pTC6. This allows them to taste neu- tral amino acids like tyrosine, which is what hair is made of.
When your kitty licks you, they are getting a taste of you and feeling good about it. It makes them happy, so they do it!
However, there are some reasons your cat may start licking walls. Luckily, most of them are easy to fix. Read on to find out why and how to stop it.
Too much stress in their life
A big reason why cats lick walls is because they’re stressed. Cats are very intuitive animals, and they sense changes in their surroundings and in their own bodies.
If there’s a new pet or person in the house, a change in the litter box location or type, or a change in the household activity level, all of these can cause stress in your cat.
Changes don’t have to be bad, though. For example, some cats love playing with feather toys but get bored with them after a while. When you replace the toy with a new one, your cat may feel excited again.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent this sort of thing. You can, however, make an effort to keep the environment as stable as possible.